What are pre-paid funeral plans?
Pre-paid funeral plans are products that allow you to pre-arrange and pre-pay for your funeral, generally for a fixed cost. You can buy a plan for yourself, or someone else, for example, a partner. They can be sold directly by funeral plan providers or by a third party, for example a funeral director.
Many providers have set plans or packages available for customers to choose from. Or a plan can be tailored to specific needs. The plan will specify the requirements for funeral arrangements, such as the type of coffin you want, the type of transport used and whether there will be pallbearers.
How can the Financial Ombudsman help?
You can now make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service about pre-paid funeral plans, in relation to events that take place after 29 July 2022 involving businesses that are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
You can also complain to us about events that took place before that date, as long as:
- your provider was a member of the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA) at the time of the event you’re complaining about, and
- you’ve not previously made the same complaint to the FPA.
To find out if your plan provider is regulated by the FCA, you can check by entering the name of the business in to FCA’s financial services register which is available on their website.
Types of complaint we can help with
We can look at most types of complaints about the sale, administration, redemption and delivery of a funeral plan, from 29 July 2022. For example, someone might get in touch because:
- they believe their plan was mis-sold as certain key terms weren’t clear during the sale, or some things aren’t covered under the plan
- they’re unhappy with how the provider calculated the price of the plan, or the price they pay for the plan is too much
- they had administrative or service issues in relation to the plan, for example, how their provider dealt with cancellations or refunds
- they’re unhappy they had to make additional payments to cover services that are not part of their current plan
Complaints we can’t help with
We may not be able to help if your complaint is about the conduct of a funeral director. It will depend on whether the funeral director was acting on behalf of the plan provider at the time. But you may be able to raise a complaint with:
How to complain
The first thing you need to do is complain to the funeral plan provider about what’s happened. They should look into things and reply within 8 weeks. If you’re not happy with their response, or they don’t get back to you within 8 weeks, you can bring your complaint to us.
Bringing a complaint to us is straightforward and won’t cost you anything. We’ll check your complaint is something we can deal with, and if it is, we’ll investigate.
Find out more about how to complain.
What we look at
To help us consider a complaint fairly, we’ll ask you to provide some information. We’ll make our decision about what happened using the evidence provided by you, the funeral plan provider and any relevant third parties. In reaching a decision, we consider:
- the relevant law
- the regulations that applied at the time
- any industry codes of conduct in force at the time
If you’re complaining on behalf of the plan holder, for example as executor of their estate, or next of kin, we may request evidence to show that you are authorised by law to act as their personal representative.
Putting things right
If we think your provider has made a mistake or treated you unfairly, we’ll tell them to put things right. This usually means that they need to put you back into the position you'd have been in if the problem hadn't happened, or as close to it as possible.
We’ll also consider whether you’ve experienced any distress or inconvenience as a result of what the business did wrong and whether we can and should award compensation.
Information for financial businesses
If you’re a financial business looking for information to help you resolve complaints, read more about handling complaints about pre-paid funeral plans.